Old tyres become fashionable footwear

Converting discarded tyres into shoes is not a new idea – the Masai tribesmen walk around in Lugabire sandals fashioned from worn-out tyres; in Pakistan and Bangladesh, many a pair of feet are protected by shoes made from vulcanised rubber; in Ethiopia, everyone from farmers to guerrilla fighters go about their business in cheap, durable footwear made from old road rubber.

What was once a practice that emerged from frugality is now a budding venture for entrepreneurs. Considering the abundance of this waste material, there is a huge commercial potential to be unlocked by creating more end-user products from it. While tyres can be retreaded and reused, there are still plenty more leftovers for recycling into practical objects.

The Tire Tube Recycling Shoes by SEAL, for instance, had a prior life as tyre tubes. This is the sort of footwear that is the dream of sustainable fashion advocates. There could be some problems though, we imagine, from having one’s feet shod in material that is not permeable (athlete’s foot and stinky feet come to mind) compared to breathable material like canvas. However, these would be perfect for rain-soaked or snow-covered pavements.

images:  i00.i.aliimg.com, static.guim.co.uk, igreenspot.com

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